Staying healthy while on holiday?

As I’ve just arrived home from a week of relaxing with my parents on the countryside, I realized this is something I definitely want to talk about. In recent years I always had a bad feeling when going on holiday, because I knew what that meant: no gym for at least a week and loads of unhealthy food with ice cream as N°1. But actually, with a little bit of preparation and a lot of determination that doesn’t have to be true. So even though I had to skip on gym I still got the most out of this week and made it as healthy that I not only lack any guilty feelings but actually feel really good about it!

The first part of living a healthy life for me is sports – well, gym. I am always a little panicked when I know I won’t be able to go to the gym but when it is actually a longer time, I usually freak out. Well, this year I took a deep breath and started to think about other options I will have there.

The best thing of holidays? We usually visit amazing, gorgeous places – which calls for new exciting running routes! If you know me, you probably know that I hate running. But I do it. I do it because I know I need it and because I actually do love the feeling after. But when I have a better, new and more interesting place to run -other than my usualy route which I really like but come on, every route gets boring after a while- it somehow becomes easier to convince myself to get out of bed, put on those running shoes and leave the house. This time, for me, it was a dirt road crossing through green fields with only a few lonely houses around. Actually it wasn’t that beautiful or anything special, but I loved it. I loved that I felt like it was all mine with nobody around, that I am away from everything and I could just enjoy the moment without having to care about the people, cars, any just anything surroinding me. I went to run 3km three times in 6 days but I felt really satisfied with that.

My Little Dirt Road
And suddenly there is nothing else but you and the path…

The other good thing in not having weights around: I was forced to do bodyweight exercises – which I sadly suck at. But I put on shorts and a sports bra (nobody can see me in our garden anyway), lay two yoga mats down in the grass with a huge bottle of water and got that strength training on! The dragon boat field practices came really handy, I could use a lot of exercises, mostly doing push ups, some jumpy cardio stuff and abs.

Oh and just to make it even better, I killed two birds with one stone: I got my mom to work out with me, so I didn’t just completed my workout but got to spend some time with her – and oh boy, we were laughing so much! If you haven’t tried working out with your mom, you will definitely have to! It is so much fun and is really quality time together – not to mention that it makes us be able to do things you can’t do alone.

And people usually forget that other activities that you can do on holiday not for the purpose of working out count too! For example, we went on longer bike rides with my dad, just biking around, going to take some pictures of  the lake or just exploring some parts of the area we haven’t been too. And yet again, another bonding opportunity with the family! 🙂 And this is basically the only was I can get my dad to move (knee and waist problems) so I’m always really enthusiastic when he says he wants to ride the bike.

One of the beautiful scenerios you can see if you're not sitting at home on vacation!
One of the beautiful scenerios you can see if you’re not sitting at home on vacation!

And last but not least: swimming! If you’re not going to a foreign city to explore, I would bet your vacation is next to the sea, a lake or at least includes a swimming pool. And swimming is a great and fun exercide in the summer and you should definitely count it in, when thinking of doing sports and staying healthy. For me it was swimming in the lake, and playing ball games with my family – which meant a lot of running and jumping in the water and throwing that ball so much I actually felt my shoulder afterwards. And I started thinking about that some resistance training in the water could actually be really useful, but I still wanna read more about it.

Oh and if you have access to such things: sauna! For me relaxing definitely has to include sitting and sweating in the sauna, so I was so glad when my parents suggested going to a spa yesterday night. We spent hours with sitting in the warm thermal water, jakuzzis massaging our back and of course: sitting in the sauna. They had four or five different kinds but I decided to stick with the good old 90°C finnish sauna – this is the only one that seems to be working for me, stricktly with the ice cold pool right after!

The second important part: eating. Well, for me the two most important words that actually sum up this part: preparation and balance.

Preparation? Yes! If you have opportunity to take some essential ingredients with you and make your own meals instead of going to the restaurant every time, please do it! I swear it’s not that much of an effort and you will feel a lot better about what you eat! We were in our own house so I could take things like my oatmeal, peanut butter, frozen chicken and veggies and then bought a great deal of fresh fruits and rye bread to eat along with yoghurt and cottage cheese. Thus I could always have my beloved healthy breakfast and make my own meals – keeping it healthy, nutritious but still delicious!

Oatmeal with peanut butter and home made sour cherry jam - yumm!
Oatmeal with peanut butter and home made sour cherry jam – yumm!

The other thing which is really important to make you feel 100% good about eating healthy on your time away: balance. I believe that it is not the end of the world if I eat an ice cream or a slice of pizza, if we go out and I feel like it. One bad meal won’t make me fat, especially if I’m eating clean apart from that all through the day and try to be active at the same time. And I do need it to feel good so I decided it was no problem, I’m not trying to loose a great deal of weight anyways. But as always: moderation is key. I don’t mean eating ice cream every single day – I ate two scoops once during that week. And pizza? Well, we were going to eat out once, I was about to order pizza, and I would have been fine with it, but then I saw the grilled salmon in the menu and I just couldn’t say no. It was covered with cheese so it wasn’t really healthy either but maybe it was still a healthier choice thinking about it. BUT I am happy because I chose it because I wanted to, and not because I felt that would be healthier. (And what a great choice it was!)

Salmon with steamed veggies!
Salmon with steamed veggies!

Anyways, my main point is: I think with a little bit of consciousness and effort it is really easy to keep the summer holidays healthy and yet still fun with a way better feeling about ourselves afterwards for sure! I just wanted to share my tips and opinion about the topic with you. What do you guys think, how do you try to keep the vacation time active and healthy?

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